Scorpions: Unit will definitely go

2008-07-30 00:00

Cape Town — Despite thousands of petitions opposing the closure of the Scorpions, the elite crime-fighting unit will definitely be dissolved — because this was the decision taken at the ruling party’s conference in Polokwane last December.

This was the loud and clear message from the chairpersons of Parliament’s portfolio committees on Justice and Safety and Security yesterday.

Safety and Security committee chair Maggie Sotyu and Justice committee chair Yunus Carrim told parliamentary journalists that the numerous petitions opposing the dissolution of the Scorpions cannot count because they do not engage constructively with the decision already taken to disband the unit.

The two committees will be dealing with two bills — the draft SA Police Service and National Prosecuting Authority Amendment bills — that allow for the Scorpions to be incorporated into the South African Police Services.

Sotyu said the two committees will hold public hearings on the legislation in the next two weeks. Public hearings will be held at Parliament on August 6 and 7, and in all nine provinces from August 11 to 15.

Sotyu and Carrim scoffed at questions relating to a survey that found that 90% of South Africans do not trust the police and said more than 55 000 petitions from individuals had been received from the same e-mail address from “a certain sector’’, while about 24 000 individual petitions were also received.

ANC spokespeersons at the press conference called on South Africans, “much as they have fallen in love with brand Scorpion, to fall in love with the fight against crime. We can have something ten times better than the Scorpions.’’

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